Mining license approved in wake of violence, investigation into murder pending (NISGUA)

Only two weeks after the kidnapping and attack against four Xinca leaders (which left Xinca leader Exacltación Marcos Ucelo dead), the Guatemalan government grants Tahoe Resources an exploitation license to proceed with its controversial Escobal project.  In this statement and press release, international solidarity networks denounce this decision and call on the country’s attorney general to involve the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to carry out an investigation.

[From the statement:]

Today, NISGUA and the International Coalition against Unjust Mining in Guatemala (CAMIGUA), presented a petition with over 4,000 signatures to Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz asking her to launch an investigation into the murder of Xinca leader Exaltación Marcos Ucelo. Ucelo was abducted, together with three other Xinca leaders, while returning from a community consultation on mining in San Rafael Las Flores. Last week, despite ongoing violence against community leaders and their allies, the Guatemalan government granted Tahoe Resources an exploitation license for the Escobal project in San Rafael las Flores.
In the below press release, NISGUA, in coalition with CAMIGUA, denounces the granting of the license in this context of increasing violence. NISGUA has accompanied communities and organizations resisting Tahoe’s Escobal project since 2011.


April 8, 2013

Mining license approved in wake of violence, investigation into murder pending

(Washington DC, Ottawa, Guatemala City) – After more than two years of delay, the Guatemalan Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM) announced on Wednesday, April 3, that it had approved the exploitation license for Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala. The announcement comes less than two weeks after four indigenous Xinca leaders were abducted while returning from a community referendum in El Volcancito, in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, in which more than 99 percent of people voted against the project. One of those abducted was found dead the next day.

“That MEM issued the license while the investigation of our friend Exaltación Marcos Ucelo’s murder is still pending is not only an affront to Exaltación’s memory, but it is also a violation of our right to consent,” said Roberto González, President of the Xinca Parliament, who was one of the four abducted….

Read the full statement on NISGUA’s website here.

This entry was posted in Conflict and Repression, Local and Indigenous Rights, Tahoe Resources and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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